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TIME TO SAY GOODBYE (again) 2019 - #3 David Strettle
The end of the 2018-19 season saw the departure of one of Saracens’ oldest favourites as David Strettle left the club for the 2nd time – but this time he wasn’t going anywhere else, he was retiring. Many felt he was still as good as ever, that he had another season in him, but typical of Stretts he knew it was time and wanted to go while people still wanted him to stay!
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE 2019 - #2 Schalk Burger
I think it is fair to say that when Schalk Burger joined Saracens in 2016, his arrival was not universally welcomed. He was 33 years of age with a somewhat chequered past and there were those who questioned whether he had just come to England to boost his pension, another Chris Jack maybe?
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE 2019 - #1 Marcello Bosch
Marcello Bosch will for me always be remembered for “That Kick”. Easter Sunday, 5th April 2015, in Colombes, a rather dingy Paris suburb. Saracens had sneaked into the quarter finals rather fortuitously having lost their final round match at the Stade Marcel Michelin with a battling performance only to discover Montpelier had inexplicably beaten Toulon allowing Sarries to claim the final quarter final place.
THE FRENCH ADVENTURES OF PHILEAS BARDELL: PART 2 - BORDEAUX
I have a colleague at work form Bordeaux and she is constantly telling me how nice it is, so I sacrificed our end of season game at Worcester to watch Bordeaux play Toulouse. Unfortunately the weather didn’t play ball, and yet again Gilly and Joan were providing the Police with plenty of overtime. The city is indeed really nice and well worth a visit.
THE ADVENTURES OF PHILEAS BARDELL: PART 1 - PARIS
Having thoroughly enjoyed quite a few trips to France watching Sarries over the past few years, I decided it might be worth going across to see some French league games.
END OF SEASON POLL - THE RESULTS #2
So here it is - Part 2 of our End of Season Poll.
END OF SEASON POLL - THE RESULTS # 1
The votes are all in – they have been independently verified and counted and we can now publish the results of the most eagerly anticipated ballot (sorry Boris & Jeremy) of the year – The Saracens’ Supporters End of Season Poll. Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote – this is what you decided!
WHY I WAS A HOOKER: PART 3
This final part of the rugby trilogy should be called The Game Against Varoomshka. After Sandhurst, I was separated from rugby for some years. Service in foreign lands, service in jobs that prevented getting involved in rugby, meant that I lost touch with the game. I had also played rather better hockey than rugby, so that rather took over for a while. Indeed, after leaving the Army, realising that it was no career that appealed to me, I played hockey in London for three or four seasons. Then one day, I met up with old school friends for a drink in Surrey. They had just formed a new rugby club and wanted players. The oddity was that almost with no ground, facilities or fixture list, they had a sponsor, a proper, real sponsor with money and discounted beer. Courage Breweries had a fund for such projects, and so, as we sat together in the Four Horseshoes in Chobham that day, my friends had a priceless sales proposition, ‘Come back to rugby and enjoy cheap beer.’ A local farmer had offered a field with a derelict barn alongside it, to be pitch and clubhouse. On player’s parents had a retired caravan that could be pressed into service, with some adjustments, as a place for getting changed, scarcely home and away facilities but better than the open air.
WHY I WAS A HOOKER: PART 2
With an undistinguished rugby career, one route into a good medical school was closed to me. In those days the Hospitals Cup was a major part of the rugby calendar, and medical schools were mysteriously able to identify promising candidates for the medical profession through their school-days rugby achievements. The other official route into medicine was actually to pass three A-levels. However, an unofficial route also existed in those far-off pre-UCAS days, the old boy network.
WHY I WAS A HOOKER - PART 1
Aged eight, just, I found myself at boarding school. On the first Saturday we had games afternoon. It was a school of 78 boarding pupils, and rugby was the only sports option during the Christmas Term. First Match was made up of the god-like figures of the First XV and the cannon fodder of their training opponents. Second Match was the next group, the future First Match and a few useless lumps who had neither skill nor desire to progress to such heights. The remorseless maths of such a small school meant that Third Match was largely played as anything from five a side to nine a side: the number depended on who was injured, in detention otherwise unavailable.